, Gloucester, MA


August 16, 2013

Poems for Boston, after the Marathon Bombing

Poems: Verse for healing after disasters

Deborah Finkelstein believes poetry can heal, so she edited an anthology, “Like One, Poems for Boston,” in response to April’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Finkelstein teaches creative writing at Endicott and North Shore Community colleges, and leads a seminar at Endicott called “Literature and Disaster” where students discuss Hurricane Katrina, the Chernobyl nuclear accident and the sinking of the Titanic.

“It’s a very heavy class,” she said. “I’d seen how the effect of something positive in class can change their mood.”

That’s why Finkelstein, who believes it is too early for poets or readers to address the bombings directly, sought poems that were humorous or uplifting.

“It actually was a major challenge,” she said. “A lot of poets I contacted said, ‘I’d love to be involved, but I don’t have anything uplifting.’”

Eventually, however, she received 36 poems, including one from former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky, which express a variety of playful, thoughtful and generous moods.

Several poets from the North Shore participated, including Kevin Carey and Jennifer Jean from Salem State, and Dan Sklar, Margaret Young, Doug Holder and Finkelstein from Endicott.

Contributor Emily Pineau is a student at Endicott, and Alfred Nicol of Amesbury is a member of the Powow River Poets, a gathering of area poets in Newburyport.

“It has a lot of people that are well-published,” said Finkelstein, who also reached out to poets from different parts of the country, and included a poem apiece from Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams.

The book’s cover was created at, a website that describes itself as “a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.”

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